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A bird's eye view from one of the hangars to the runway

Airport to close

By Michael Butler

The City of Tallassee has made a decision to get out of the airport business. The city council, at its Aug. 14 meeting, voted to close Reeves Airport .

"Last year, we had our annual inspection at the airport and had a lot of violations," Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock said. "I got estimates of what it would take to bring it up to speed. At that time it was $63,000. Last week we had our annual inspection. Guess what? We got hit up again with the same violations.

"If something happens out there, I'm afraid we're going to be liable. I called our insurance provider. I figured they covered the airport. They told us you don't have airport coverage. All these years the city has not had liability coverage on the airport."

Hammock said there is $11,000 in the operating account for the airport.

"Is it the feduciary responsibility of the city council to take taxpayer money and spend it bringing that airport up to speed that doesn't have any economic impact on the city at this time? I don't think it's right. The council doesn't think it's right when we're in the shape that we're in when only a handful of people are going to use it."

AES Industries uses the airport regularly. Jason Benton is the company president.

"I talked with Jason Benton," Hammock said. "He is in agreement with me."

Hammock said Benton might be interested in working with the city for an arrangement on the airport.

"He's interested. Alex Harwick is interested." Harwick formerly managed the airport.

"We don't have the money to develop it to make it what it could be to help Tallassee, just like Seven Gables. Look what Noah Griggs is doing. My personal opinion is we need to temporarily shut it down and then have it surveyed and sell it to a private entity that can afford to repair it."

Hammock added that he feels the location is a hindrance to attracting customers.

"It's a terrible location. It was where GKN is. That was a perfect location, next to the interstate. There was 300 acres close by that was an option. It was a bad mistake where they put it. It's so close to the river. There is a gas line. There is no moving that. You need 5,000 feet of runway. There's no possible way for us to make that 5,000 feet. It's never going to be more than a recreational airport."

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